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New Food and Clothes Closets Open on Campus

Submitted by on September 10, 2019 – 7:06 pm
Elizabeth Mura stands next to shelving holding dry goods.

AmeriCorps Vista Worker Elizabeth Mura stands in the Haverhill campus food closet.

Northern Essex recognizes that not all its students have refrigerators full of food or drawers full of clothes. With this in mind, food and clothing closets have been established on both the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.

“We have all needed a little help at one time or another,” said Janel D’Agata-Lynch, coordinator of the civic engagement, service learning, and community resources program which oversees the closets.

The food closets are stocked with canned goods like tomatoes, tuna, soups, and hash, boxes of pasta, bags of quinoa and beans, and jars of peanut butter. Some toiletry items are also available, said D’Agata-Lynch. The clothes closet holds jeans in various sizes, tee shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants and packages of new socks and underwear. Just outside the doors of the closet is a large freezer holding frozen meals as well as loaves of bread and bagels.

The closets are located on the second floor of the Student Center in Haverhill and in Room 020 in the basement of the Dimitry Building in Lawrence.

The expanded food security options and clothing were made possible by partnerships with Bread & Roses of Lawrence, Fantini Bakery in Haverhill, Bagel Boy of Lawrence. Used clothes have been supplied by Ruth’s House in Haverhill and Debbie’s Treasure Chest in Lawrence while hangers were donated by EZ-Way Cleaners of Haverhill.

NECC Knight mascot stands in the food closet looking at the dry goods.

Even the NECC Knight is impressed with the food options in the food closet on the Lawrence campus.

D’Agata-Lynch and NECC alumna Elizabeth Mura, who is an AmeriCorps Vista member working at Northern Essex until next July are coordinating the closets with the help of volunteers. Her position is funded through a grant from Campus Compact They are seeking volunteers to assist in stocking and staffing the closets. Anyone who would like to make donations, please direct them to our community partners Bread & Roses, Debbie’s Treasure Chest, and Ruth’s House

D’Agata-Lynch encourages any student interested in learning more about the food and clothes closets should email her at Volunteers are also welcome.

“There is no shame in needing support,” she said. “While this isn’t meant to suffice a student’s total needs, it provides us the opportunity to let the students what other resources are available to them in the community. We are proud of our students and how hard they work here at NECC.  We hope these services will help to alleviate any additional burdens they may be facing.”

The closets build on other food security initiatives already in place at NECC including the Farmer’s Market supported by the Greater Boston Food Bank and the pop-up peanut butter and jelly stations available across the campuses.

For additional information on Northern Essex’s food support, visit the webpage.